Spring Guide: 25 Chances for Outdoor Fun This Season

Who needs to wait for summer? It's time right now to hit the streets for outdoor fun.

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Mar. 19, 2013

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Philadelphia Science Festival Carnival

We don’t often think of the city as a bucolic garden paradise. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get out and explore the culture Philly has to offer beneath the open sky. Here are 25 chances for outdoor fun this spring:

Artists in Action

Grounds for Sculpture celebrates the arrival of spring by giving us the opportunity to peruse artwork in the park while listening to the smooth jams of the Jim Popik Jazz Duo. Visit artist studios, attend demonstrations and hear resident artist Joe Gyurcsak give an easy-to-understand presentation on color theory. March 23, 11am. Free. Grounds For Sculpture,18 Fairgrounds Rd., Hamilton, N.J. 609.586.0616. groundsforsculpture.org

Cave Exploration

Venture outdoors and underground to the Crystal Caves, where you can explore the dazzling display of calcium crystals that were carved slowly and exquisitely by Mother nature. This walking tour takes you along the amazing rock formations that are found more than 100 feet below the surface. March 23, 9:30am. $35. Blair Christian Academy, 220 W. Upsal St. 866.878.3595. letsgooutdoors.net

2013 Fishtown Chili Cookoff

The Fishtown Neighbors Association hosts its third annual chili cookoff that features 10 amateur cooks competing alongside area restaurants, including last year’s winner Loco Pez. Attendees and celebrity judges will vote for their favorites and wash it all down with beer from Philadelphia Brewing Company and Neshaminy Brewing Company. March 24, 1-4pm. $10-$15. 2424 E.York St. fishtown.org

Tacony Creek Cleanup

Your closets and windowsills aren’t the only thing well-deserving of a good spring scrub down; the city’s parks are in need of attention as well, and United By Blue is asking for your help. Join UBB and their friends at the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership in giving Tacony Creek Park a much needed spring cleaning. April 6, 10am. Free. Tacony Creek Park, intersection of Whitaker Ave. and Tampa St. unitedbyblue.com


In an effort to beautify and sustain Philadelphia neighborhoods, TreePhilly allows residents to pick up two trees per address to plant in their private yard. Sponsored by 
Philadelphia’s Parks and Recreation 
Department, TreePhilly supports both the city’s Greenworks Philadelphia plan and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s three-state, 13-county regional Plant One Million campaign. April 6-20. Free. Various locations. 215.683.0205. treephilly.org

Big Bugs Grand Opening

Morris Arboretum invites you to celebrate its creepy-crawly friends with a day of nature, music and a Big Bug Scavenger Hunt. Enjoy an insect costume parade and contest in which participants will have the chance to strut their multi-legged stuff as part of the exhibit’s seasonal grand opening. April 7, 11am. Free with admission. Morris Arboretum, 100 E. Northwestern Ave. 215.247.5777.  morrisarboretum.org

XPN Music Film Festival

Returning for a second year is the film festival for music fans. For four days, attendees will be treated to movies with kick-ass soundtracks, biopics, rockumentaries and more. April 11-14. $85-$100. Various locations. xpn.org

Philly Farm & Food Fest 

Fair Food Philly and the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture have come together to bring us an unfair amount of food all in one place. More than 100 vendors will set up in the convention center and ply passers-by with samples of their goods in the hopes of increasing interest in locally grown and farmed food. April 14, 11am. $15-$20. Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch St. 215.418.4700. phillyfarmfest.org

Cherry Blossom Festival

The Sakura Sunday Celebration—the heart and soul of the Cherry Blossom Festival, celebrating Japanese culture—features live music, dance performances, martial-arts demonstrations, calligraphy, origami and more. Enter your pooch in the Prettiest Pet in Pink Parade or take in the Harajuku Fashion Show, which features one-of-a-kind designs from local students inspired by Tokyo’s Harajuku district. April 14, 10:30am. 100 N Horticultural Dr. subarucherryblossom.org


We wonder who thought a Grateful Dead cover band and pig roast would be a good coupling for 4/20. Twenty bucks gets you 
all the barbecue you could possibly fit in your stomach, as well as access to Brooklyn Brewery drink specials. April 20, noon. $20. City Tap House, 3925 Walnut St. 215.662.0105. citytaphouse.com

GO West Craft Fest

Spend your day soaking in rays while checking out the funky crafts made by dozens of Philly’s finest craftmakers. Treat yourself to a one-of-a-king necklace and homemade candle, or enjoy a dazzling display of artful acrobatics and live music while savoring a picnic lunch among the colorful azaleas and historic monuments of the Woodlands. April 20, 11am. Free. The Woodlands, 4000 Woodland Ave. gowestcraftfest.blogspot.com

Philadelphia Science 
Festival Carnival 

The Science Festival’s outdoor carnival takes over the Parkway, featuring more than 100 exhibitors offering experiments, games and entertainment. Learn how to make liquid nitrogen ice cream, tinker with robots, pet animals and test your CSI knowledge at the mock forensic crime scene. April 20, 11am. Free. Benjamin Franklin Pkwy. 215.448.1346. philasciencefestival.org

Tailgate BBQ Challenge

Think your recipe for super sloppy joes has what it takes to kick some tailgating ass? Prove it by pitting it against the city’s finest outdoor chefs at the Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s Tailgate BBQ Challage. Attendees will have the opportunity to play fun games, listen to music and taste a variety of food at multiple team tents while showing their team spirit in celebration of the upcoming Phillies season. Celebrity judges will be on hand to judge each of the teams on team spirit and best tasting food. April 20, noon. $10-$30. K7 Parking Lot at Lincoln Financial Field, One NovaCare Way. tailgatechallenge.eventbrite.com

PIFA Street Fair

The month-long Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts once again culminates with a giant street festival that shuts down a chunk of Broad Street with rides, petting zoos, jungle gyms and more. Food vendors, street performers and musicians will be all celebrate this year’s theme of “If You Had a Time Machine.” April 27, 11am-8pm. Free. Broad St. between Chestnut and Lombard. 215.546.PIFA. pifa.org

Manayunk Brew Fest 

Whoever said having too many choices is bad was an idiot. Manayunk Brewery offers you more than 50 craft beers from around at this year’s Brew Fest. If you’re still able to make decisions after witnessing the sheer amount of delicious beverage on display, Keystone Homebrew Supply will show you how to make your very own concoction at home. April 27, 1pm. $45. Manayunk Brewery & Restaurant, 4120 Main St. 215.482.8220. manayunkbrewery.com

Naturepalooza! Earth Day Festival

Celebrate nature with a day full of live animal shows, spring native plant sale, games, mural-making and more. Bounce to the sounds of the Plants and Two of a Kind and cuddle up with some furry friends from the Philadelphia Zoo. April 27, 10am. Free. The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, 8480 Hagys Mill Rd. ­schuy­lkillcenter.­org

Red & Black Affair!

Snag a day at the spa or a night out on the town at this silent auction benefiting the Ladybug project. Mosey around an indoor/outdoor garden and art exhibit at the Philadelphia Magic gardens while contributing to a good cause. May 2, 5:30pm. $25-$30. Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, 1020-1022 South St. 850.320.3237. theladybugproject.com/red-and-black-affair.html 

The Mann’s Musical 
Gardens Tour

Stroll through six of the finest residential gardens located in Philadelphia’s scenic Chestnut Hill neighborhood, while listening to musical performances from students of the performing arts school. May 3,10am-4pm. $100 including lunch. Chestnut Hill. 215.546.7900. manncenter.org

Performance Garage Dance Marathon

Lace up your shoes and stretch out those tights for this all-night dance marathon and community block party to support the Performance Garage, a space that supports the local dance and art community. Their goal is to reach $32,000 through a dance marathon, where sponsors support each hour you keep your feet moving and body shaking. May 4, 11am. $25-$100. Performance Garage, 1515 Brandywine St. 215.569.4060. facebook.com/performancegaragephillydancemarathon

Pennsylvania Guild 
Fine Craft Fair

Featuring 140 of the very finest area craft artists, this fair focuses on hand-crafted jewelry, contemporary furniture, functional and decorative pottery, designer clothing and other interpretive works including blown glass, photography and sculpture. May 10-12, 11am. Free. Rittenhouse Square, 18th and Walnut sts. 717.431.8706. pacrafts.org/fine-craft-fairs

Aberdeen Dad Vail 

More than 3,500 college athletes compete in this two-day rowing race, named after famous rowing coach Harry Emerson “Dad” Vail, a long-time coach at the University of Wisconsin. Be sure to check out Rowers Village, where vendors line the street selling goods for rowing enthusiasts. May 10-11. Free. Kelly Drive and Strawberry Mansion. 215.542.1443. dadvail.org

Public Sculpture After Dark Walking Tour 

Feel your perception of sculptures scattered around Philly shift as the sun sets on this walking tour with William Perthes, the Director of Education at the Violette de Mazia Foundation. May 18, 7:30pm. $15. The Clothes Pin, 1500 Market St. 610.971.9960. demazia.org

Spring Festival

Rittenhouse Square celebrates spring with a festival filled with food, music, fashion, arts and entertainment. May 18, noon. Free. Rittenhouse Square. rittenhouserow.org

2013 Brewerytown Spring Festival 

A caravan of food trucks is the newest addition to this annual festival in Brewerytown. Now you wont have to sit down to stuff your face, allowing more time to weave through the various vendors set up on the sidewalks while listening to live music. May 18, noon,. Free. West Girard Business Association, 2700 W. Girard Ave. 215.232.4766. 

Yoga on the Steps 

We all have had the urge to stretch our bodies into weird shapes whilst wearing tight spandex on the steps of the Art Museum as onlookers became red with jealousy at having missed the opportunity. Thanks to Living Beyond Breast Cancer, an organization dedicated to helping women diagnosed with cancer, the chance is ours to take. May 19, 8:30am. Free. Philadelphia Museum of Art, 26th St. and the Ben Franklin Pkwy. 610.645.4567. yogaonthesteps.org

Walk Against Hate 

Help the Anti-Defamation League celebrate diversity and stifle racial prejudice by taking a stroll, alone or in a group, down MLK Drive. The exercise and feeling of solidarity is free with purchase. May 19, 1pm. $5-$10. Martin Luther King Drive. 215.568.2223. walkagainsthate.org

Flavors of Philly Tour 

Treat your distant relative or friend from out of town you forgot was visiting to a stereotypical Philadelphia food-tasting experience they are sure to cherish with the same banality as a painting bought at Kohls. Yes, you will probably eat a cheesesteak and a soft pretzel. Through Spring. 1:3opm. $39. 2219 Locust St. 800.979.3370. cityfoodtours.com

Compiled by Lindsay Kenney, 
Drew O’Meara and Michael Brady

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